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Simple Measures to Protect Our Skin

Healthy Living Spaces - Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Welcome to Healthy Living Spaces. This is my very first blog post and I am a bit excited as I have lots that I want to share with you.  In Melbourne today the winds are up and it is cold, just the type of day to stay indoors. It got me thinking about our skin and all the different products and potions we apply every day. So today I would like to talk about protecting our skin!!

Protecting our skin is as important as what we eat and drink daily.  Today more than ever before we are dealing with toxins in our everyday environments and most of us often don’t realise what we are being exposed to.

In my work one of the first pieces of advice I give to my clients is to become aware of their personal care and cleaning products choices. Often when we start to investigate these and take a good hard look at the ingredients people are genuinely shocked at what we discover. Skin conditions can often be improved with a change of product and the introduction of a shower and/or bath filter.

Skin care products that are full of synthetic chemicals, preservatives and hidden ingredients under the label ‘fragrance’ are not good for us and coat our skin in chemicals that can irritate the skin. Our skin is our largest organ and almost 60% of what we put on it can be absorbed into our bodies. I know most of us assume that what we see on a store shelf must be safe, unfortunately this is a myth. The truth is the majority of the ingredients found in our personal care products have not been tested for their effects on human health.

Today it is easy to get caught up in what we are sold around the pursuit of beauty, the sexy advertisements and the eternal pressure to look younger. In reality the marketing claims made by the cosmetic industry are unregulated and rarely required to be proven. So be aware of the terms natural, hypoallergenic, pure, enriched with collagen, micro vibration etc etc the list is endless.

For all of our daughters it’s important that we teach them that there is so much more to success than superficial beauty based on unhealthy and unrealistic body images. By helping them choose synthetic chemical free products that don’t contain endocrine disrupting chemicals we are teaching them to become informed consumers which is important as they grow older.

We know that the average women uses approximately 12 products each morning before she leaves the house. A lot of these products will contain fragrances, preservatives and a whole host of our chemicals. This could equal approximately 160+ chemicals. The argument from manufacturers is that they are only low doses. Given that we never use one chemical at a time this just isn’t a reasonable argument.

To protect your skin incorporate these simple changes:

  • Read labels and know what you are purchasing. If you need a chemistry degree it may be time to reassess

  • Avoid anything with fragrance and that includes perfumes

  • Choose a natural deodorant that doesn’t contain aluminium

  • Wherever possible simplify your beauty routine

Use the Chemical Maze app to easily identify the ingredients listed on your labels or go to the Environmental Working Groups Skin Deep Database http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ as a resource. Another option is to work with a Building Biologist one on one to go through your own home and make the necessary changes. Remembering that every change no matter how small can make a difference.  Have fun..





  • Incredibly toddlers can put things in their mouth up to 76 times per hour and may ingest up to 10 grams of dust per day
  • Every day around 17,000 litres of air pass through our lungs
  • The CSIRO estimates that the cost of poor indoor air quality in Australia may be as high as $12 billon per year (SOK, 2001).
  • More than 80,000 chemicals have been developed and released into the global environment since the 1950’s. Today the World Health Organisation (WHO) attributes 36% of all childhood deaths to environmental causes.
  • Most European countries don’t chlorinate their water supply and about 97 percent of countries don’t fluoridate their water supply because of health concerns.
  • Use indoor plants to reduce VOC’s from your indoor air.
  • Perfumes may contain many chemicals, one being phthalates which mimic the hormone oestrogen which has been linked to breast cancer.
  • Choose safer plastics such as polypropylene (PP), high density polyethylene (HDPE) and low density polyethylene (LDPE). Never reuse plastic drink bottles and definitely don’t leave them in cars in the hot sun.
  • Waiting for high levels of scientific proof before taking action on electromagnetic fields can lead to a very high health and economic costs, as was the case with asbestos, leaded petrol and tobacco (Council of Europe, 2011)
australasian society of building biologists chemical free community member